Sunday, October 04, 2009

Customer Service & Apple

Customer service is a very interesting part of private industry. Often, people ask for customer service because they are not as knowledgeable as those giving the advice. When customer service bridges into technology, healthcare, and other services where the information differential can be wide, customer service becomes utterly imperative. Then there is the bad apple (no pun intended) that doesn't meet your expectations, what happens then?

I'm a loyal Apple customer and have been for some time. My mom is on her third iMac, often upgrading to something newer and faster every couple years, though she doesn't understand the the technical language associated with a faster processor or more RAM. After about a year with her current iMac, she noticed it was running hot, so she took it into the local Apple store to get it fixed. They asked if she had backed the data up, but to someone who knows more about simply using computers than the peripherals, the answer was no. Hence, the Apple technician said they would do a complementary file transfer. Return time of 24-48 hours quickly passed with no update. After multiple phone calls, she asked that they call her at home. Instead, she received an apologetic phone call on her cell phone saying that they couldn't transfer her data and may have potentially lost it. For someone who uses her computer to document her life via photos and music, this answer is unacceptable. In my opinion, if you can't perform the service up to base expectations, don't offer the service.

Needless to say, after a lot of back and forth, the store said they'd like to make her whole. Whole entailed giving her a brand new iMac with specs comparable to her old one. I asked if that was ok with her and she said yes. I still speculate if simply replacing an old device with a new one is appropriate. I guess the act of new and free lessens the pain. I recognize items break though I know myself well enough to say, I'd still be infuriated.


Lauren said...

Wow! The apple store lost all of my data too but on my external drive because it didn't have enough space and somehow their software just overwrote it but couldn't check on anything. It's very very lame! I totally agree. At least your mom got a new iMac out of it. I got a referral to a hard drive recover specialist and a "sorry." Too bad sorry didn't bring back the 3 years of consulting work that they lost.

JulyDream said...

My brother's gf was having problems with her iPhone. They backed everything up on their system (she hadn't backed up in a LONG time) and proceeded to fiddle with the phone. By the time they were done, her phone wouldn't turn on, it was out of warranty and they said they could only return the data to the device on which it came off. Not a great experience, so after my mom's problem, I may think twice next time I ask for help at an Apple Store.